Explainer: What’s in the Foreign Fighters Bill?

The government's second set of draft national security laws has passed the Senate, little more than a month after the largest counter-terror operation in Australian history.

  • Up to 5 years jail for encouraging others to engage in extremist acts
  • Up to 10 years jail for entering a ‘declared zone’
  • Make it illegal to advocate a terrorist act
  • Passports can be suspended for up to 14 days without notice to the individual in question
  • Control orders for engaging in armed hostilities overseas; preventative detention orders of up to 48 hours
  • Cancellation of welfare payments for individuals whose passports or visas have been cancelled or refused

The government's second set of draft national security laws has passed the Senate, little more than a month after the largest counter-terror operation in Australian history.

The bill – the initial reading of which can be read in full at the end of this article - now heads to the lower house.

Under the proposed laws, radical preachers who encourage others to engage in extremist acts could be jailed for up to five years, while it will also be illegal for anyone to advocate a terrorist act.

Other proposed provisions included in the bill are making it illegal to enter or remain in a “declared zone” where a terrorist organisation is engaging in hostile activity.

The offence is punishable by 10 years in prison, though the law does stipulate a "legitimate business" list of seven excuses for travel, including aid work, journalism, official government travel or visiting family members.

The legislation also includes a specific prohibition in relation to torture.

The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday (October 28) with bipartisan support, after the government agreed to multiple amendments recommended by a bipartisan joint parliamentary committee.

Amendments

The amendments implement a number of safeguards, including removing the ability to declare an entire country a terrorist zone.

They also sunset several of the measures, including powers to hold suspected terrorists without charge for 14 days and search and seizure powers, to expire in four years instead of 10.

The government also scrapped the power to retain biometric data such as fingerprints and iris scans into the future.

The bill still has to go through the House of Representatives, where its passage is all but guaranteed.

A third suite of laws to enable the collection of metadata is expected to be introduced next year.

With AAP

Source World News Australia

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